At Giaconda Rick Kinzbrunner has created arguably Australia's greatest Chardonnay, and is making a mean fist at its most sensual, aromatic Shiraz (Syrah) and is on the road to make top Nebbiolo. His focus and determination to benchmark himself against the very best wines of the world is compelling.
I've visited Giaconda a couple of times and what struck me is the array of great empty bottles in his house - wall to wall of Montrachet, top northern Rhone and great Barolo. His ambition is to truly reach for the stars.
As a winery worker across Victoria in the 70s he moved to California and studied at UC Davis and did vintage with some key thought leaders (Simi, Stag's Leap, Matanzas Creek), along the way becoming friends the likes of Steve Kistler and David Ramey - both producers of fabulously layered, complex Chardonnays which give you an insight into his aims with Chardonnay at home in Beechworth. In Europe he worked for the Mouiex family, co-owners of Chateau Petrus.
The Estate Shiraz is Rick's top red wine, surpassing the Warner vineyard for intensity and elegance. This is hauntingly perfumed, closer in style aromatically to Cote Rotie than to Hermitage, even though the weight and fruit ripeness suggests a warmer climate. A superb modern Australian icon.
He bought the land in Beechworth in Victoria's alpine country in the early 1980s and planted a tiny vineyard which today totals 4ha. The Estate Shiraz comes solely from this site.